John Moran ’93: Applying an Entrepreneurial Spirit to a Successful Start-Up Venture

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John Moran '93

As far back as his days on campus, John Moran ’93 exhibited an entrepreneurial streak. 

As an undergraduate student majoring in fine arts and minoring in business, he was responsible for bringing a new chapter of a local fraternity Tau Phi Beta “Bulls,” to campus.

“Balancing education, work, and a social life while starting this chapter was a        huge undertaking,” Moran remembers. ”But we thought it was fun and interesting, and it’s the kind of thing that lends itself to an entrepreneurial spirit.”

That spirit is alive and well today, twenty years after commencement. He is currently a partner and vice president of marketing and design in a multimillion dollar start-up business, Keen Marketing and Manufacturing, based in Windermere, Florida.

The company focuses on brands that have nutritional benefits—and taste good.  Although Keen has several brands it produces, the three strongest are Sheila G’s Brownie Brittle, Sneaky Pete’s Oat Beverage, and Thrive, a nutritional ice cream.

“We’re focusing on these three because they offer the best opportunity for success,” he says. “The fact that these brands offer good taste and nutritional benefits helps us to differentiate ourselves in our market. These products taste like mainstream items, but have health benefits people don’t expect. For instance, Sneaky Pete’s Oat Beverage drinks mainstream like Vitaminwater or Gatorade, but has the nutritional benefits of oatmeal, including heart healthy soluble fiber.”

 “Starting a business from the ground up has always interested me,” Moran says. “It takes a lot of passion to do that. Like any start-up, we work hard to build successful national brands, move forward with rapid growth, and stay financially healthy.”

After thirteen years as an employee with Prudential, and five with the start-up company, World Gourmet, based in Butler, Moran believes he is in a good place.

 A recent illness put things into perspective for him. The father of three boys, whose wife Jennifer also graduated from William Paterson in 1993, believes in a work-life balance.

“My illness was a wake-up call,” he says. “A lot of us are spending endless time on business. I was blessed and lucky to get through it. I feel phenomenal, and am happy to wake up each day to spend time with my family.”

Moran’s father John ’61, ‘M.A.’74, a retired high school teacher, and his mother Janice ’63, a retired kindergarten teacher both graduated from William Paterson. Three other family members also graduated with William Paterson degrees, including his brother-in-law John Revis in 2003, his wife Tonya in 2010, and his sister-in-law Victoria Revis 2010.